Religion in Iraq

Religion in Iraq

The major religion is Islam which is practiced by about 95% of Iraqis. The other 5% are Judaism, Christian, and other religions.



Iraq's Muslims follow two distinct traditions, Shia and Sunni Islam. According to the "CIA World Factbook", Iraq is 97% Muslim (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%).


Iraq's Assyrian minority, who are Christian, represent 3% of the population.


The Yazidi live near Mosul and are primarily made up of ethnic Kurds. Yazdânism dates to pre-Islamic times and Mosul is the principal holy site of the Yazidi faith. The holiest Yazidi shrine is that of Sheikh Adi located at the necropolis of Lalish. Aside from the Yazidi religion, there are also the religions of the Yarsani, Alevi and the non-Yazdanist Kakai 'davidism' among the Iraqi Kurds.


The Mandaean faith has existed in Iraq since the reign of Artabanus V according to the Haran Gawaitha (secret wanderings) scroll of secondary Mandaean writ. This would make the Iraqi presence of Mandaeans at least 1,800 years old, making it the third oldest continually professed faith in Iraqi society after Zoroastrianism and Judaism. There are more Mandaeans in Iraq than there are Zoroastrians or Jews combined. In Iraq estimates of around 60,000 have been made, making the country second only to Iran in population numbers.Fact|date=February 2007 The oldest independent confirmation of Mandaean existence in the region is the Kartir inscription. The Mandaean faith is commonly known as the last surviving Gnostic faith and its adherents believe it to be the oldest faith on Earth, with at least some scholarly support for it being as old if not older then Christianity perhaps even being a major influence in the development of heterodox Jewish circles which eventually led to the formation of Christian beliefs, practices, rituals and theology. John the Baptist or Yahia Yuhanna is considered to have been the final Mandaean prophet and first true Ris'Amma, or Ethnarch, of the Mandaean people. Most Iraqi Mandaeans live near waterways because of the practice of total immersion (or baptism) in flowing water every Sunday. The highest concentrations are in the Mesene province with headquarters in Amarah, Qalat Saleh and Basra. Besides these southern regions bordering Kuzistan in Iran, large numbers of Mandaeans can be found in Baghdad in Dweller's Quarters of that city giving them easy access to the Tigris River.


Judaism first came to Iraq under the rule of the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon. It was a part of the Babylonian Captivity. The once thriving Jewish community has survived through a series of Zionist bombings and local persecution. [] The majority have fled, largely to Israel. Fewer than 100 Jews remain in Iraq.see|History of the Jews in Iraq


Zoroastrianism first came to Iraq when Babylon was conquered by the Persian Empire. Zoroastrianism in Iraq declined after the fall of the Sassanid Empire and very few, if any, Zoroastrians remain.


Some members of the Shabak people practice a badly known syncretic religion.

Religious conflict

Conflict between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims in Iraq has turned into riots, tit-for-tat bombings, and violence throughout Iraq. see|Sectarian violence in Iraq


ee also

* Islam in Iraq
* Demographics of Iraq

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